Sunday, September 13, 2009

It's the little things



I am still reeling from the events at work last week. I am like a cat in that I do not cope well with change sometimes. I've been trying to soothe my anxiety with food, but as my sage Weight Watchers leader advised me: "If hunger is not the problem, food is not the answer." I've been repeating this mantra to myself for the past few days, but there is still some little part of me that feels the need to test the theory out just in case food is, as it turns out, the answer.

Rather than wallowing in self-pity yesterday, I got up early and headed to a rescue event about an hour away. It was, I had to admit, a beautiful day. We set up our lure course at a shelter charity walk, and I sat a table selling tug toys and tee shirts. I didn't manage to sell much, persuasive salesperson that I am. Mostly I just fussed over participants' dogs. The event was held at a park on the shores of a large lake, and at one point a large flock of pelicans flew soundlessly overhead in a perfect V formation. I had never seen a flock of pelicans before and I was entranced. I tilted my head back and watched until I couldn't see them anymore. Thereafter I kept scanning the sky and lake in hopes of seeing more of them. I never did, so I decided that the flock I had seen was gift enough.

Later in the morning, I headed to a hot dog stand to buy a soda. As I was waiting in line, I spotted a sign: "Boiled Georgia Peanuts $2.00." When I got to the front of the line, I saw that the booth was manned by an older man and his wife. "Have you been moving a lot of those peanuts?" I asked him. "I haven't seen boiled peanuts since the last time I was in South Carolina." I was truly curious.

The man turned to his wife. "See?" he said. "I told you someone would know!" I explained that I grew up in Virginia and that we often went to Myrtle Beach for family vacations. Down there, you can buy boiled peanuts just about everywhere. There are roadside stands devoted solely to boiled peanuts. We used to eat them every summer.

The hot dog vendor pulled out a styrofoam cup and scooped out some hot peanuts for me. "On the house," he said, handing me the cup. I went back to my table and shelled the nuts. I munched on the mushy goodness inside while my mind was flooded with long-ago summers full of sand and saltwater and ferris wheels.

Later, the man came over and gave me another cup of boiled peanuts. It seemed we were about 1200 miles away from the prime selling area for such a delicacy and he hadn't had a single sale. No one this far north had ever heard of them and weren't inclined to give them a try. I suspect boiled peanuts are one of those things people either love or hate, not unlike marshmallow Peeps.

I offered some to my friend Kate, who had never heard of such a thing. She wrinkled her nose. "I can't believe you're putting those in your mouth," she said as I shelled another nut. "I brought brownies and you're eating THAT?"

When tragedy strikes, maybe the little things just seem to bounce into focus a little more. Here's to pelicans and peanuts!

4 comments:

Beth said...

I grew up in Florida. Every trip home from college necessitated a trip past the 'bouilt p-nut' seller.

And good luck on your journey. I'm a fellow Weight Watcher who, like you, battles the desire to assuage pain with food. It's a tough one to fight!

Lisa.Y. said...

I, too, am from Florida and we have boild peanuts on every corner. Gosh I love those things.

Audreee said...

Boiled peanuts are so good. I don't remember the last time I ate some.
I'm glad that nice man gave some "on the house". Wisconsonites don't know what they are missing!

Marginwalker said...

Had my first boiled peanut on my first trip to South Carolina. That's good eatin'!! :)